Let me start off our traditional "end of year" post by thanking everyone who has supported SHUG this year. Whether you adopted, fostered, volunteered, or donated, you are part of the SHUG team and we couldn't do this without you. And what exactly is it that we all did together this year?
Well, we had some fun and saved some dogs and along the way we broke some hearts.
Here are the numbers...SHUG brought in 111 dogs in 2019. Among those were:
2 Italian Greyhounds
We are ending the year with 18 dogs in fostercare: 3 Greyhounds, 2 Podencos, 1 IG, 1 Saluki, 1 Borzoi, and 10 Galgos. (Check some of them out here!)
Those were the good parts of the year. Lots of adoptions and memories of dogs running for the first time in their lives in the grass and the snow.
There were not so good times too.
We have flown hundreds of dogs as cargo across the US and the world but earlier this month SHUG flew our first dog in cabin. This was part of a calculated risk. Nonna was a senior Maneto (lovely referred to as "shorties" around here). We knew Nonna had some health issues and combined with her age, that was enough to give us pause about flying her. The team here at SHUG and the team at Casa de Postas in Spain went back and forth. Nonna's caregivers at CdP spoke to her vet there. In the end, we came up with a plan.
I literally carried Nonna in my arms from Madrid to New York. At the airport in Madrid Nonna curled up in my lap. For the flight she rested in the carrier we had bought especially for her--meticulously researched by her soon-to-be-mom--and Nonna was comfortable and spent most of the flight sleeping either on my lap or snuggled between my feet. The flight couldn't have gone any better from Nonna's perspective. We pulled up to my house in the wee hours of the morning on December 4th and Nonna's new mom was there waiting for her, ready to give her a home and her heart.
On December 11th, Nonna passed. Her kidneys shut down and nothing we did seemed to help. Nonna was never alone. She was loved.
At the end of the year we look back on what we've done right and what we've done wrong. We look at the mistakes we've made and try to figure out how to avoid them (and make all new ones!) next year. Many years ago I worked with a rescue that wanted to add a "businessman" to their board to help them make "better" financial decisions. What would a "businessman" think of spending over $2000 on a senior dog with health issues, transporting them thousands of miles on the slim chance they would have a few good years to enjoy in their forever home, to end up with only a week before having to say goodbye? Would they count that as one of our mistakes?
Well, fuck them. I've said this before and I will say it again. SHUG is not a business. We suck at customer service because we don't have customers. Not human ones, at least. SHUG is a group of people who have no sense of self-preservation and who risk their hearts every day to try to make the lives of dogs better, safer, and happier. Yes, sometimes we fail. But trying is never a mistake.
So on this last day of 2019 I thank everyone who supported our mission. To those who donated, know that we did not always spend your money "wisely"...but we hope you agree that we spent it well.
Happy New Year,
Michael, The Director